Self-healing electronics are possible thanks to liquid metal capsules

Dec 22, 2011
Self-healing electronics are possible thanks to liquid metal capsules

If you have some sort of circuit board that is bent enough to crack the wires inside that are hiding on the board, your day is over. Once a normal circuit has broken wires, the conduction of signals stops. In the future, that broken wire or connection may not mean the end of being able to use your gear. Scientists at the University of Illinois have developed a cool new self-healing electronic circuit.

The circuit is able to heal itself after a connection is severed so quickly that only microseconds will drag out between a broken connection and a repaired connection. The way the researchers made this happen is also surprisingly simple. The team placed a mass of 10-micron microcapsules along the length of circuit. These tiny microcapsules are filled with a liquid metal made of gallium-indium alloy inside.

When that circuit cracks leading to the loss of conductivity, the capsules also crack. The liquid metal inside then oozes out of the capsule, into the crack and restores connectivity. The liquid metal is so effective it restores 99% of the conductivity and operation on the circuit board continues as if nothing happened. The method will work for multi-layer circuit boards such as those in your computer too. I see this as more effective on circuits that are flexible.

[via Extremetech]

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